The total turfgrass area used and maintained in Florida was an estimated 5 million acres. Single family homes make up roughly 75% of that total. As of 1991, 36% of the total acreage was St. Augustinegrass; 19% bahiagrass; 10% bermudagrass; with the balance being zoysiagrass, centipedegrass, and others.
Many of the turfgrass cultivars currently being produced, marketed, and managed were developed and released decades ago. Management of these aged cultivars is fairly well understood, but they were released in an era when sustainable practices were of less concern. Uprising concerns over fertilizer and pesticide use, water quality and quantity issues, and changes in consumer preferences have prompted turfgrass breeders and evaluators to focus on developing turfgrasses that have improved performance characteristics such as color, quality, density, and color as well as requiring fewer inputs such as fertilizer, water, and pesticides required to maintain the grasses.
New turfgrass cultivars possessing these desirable traits must be identified, vetted, patented, released, and marketed to meet the growing demands for these grasses. Once the grasses are available, country agents, sod producers, turf managers and consumers must be educated about the advantages of these new grasses and why they would want to plant them opposed to other varieties.
Since 2002, we have conducted 22 research trials assessing the performance and sustainability of more than 2,300 unique turfgrass breeding accessions and cultivars. Each year these demonstration and evaluation trials are incorporated into field days for producers, turf managers, consumers, and county extension faculty. Using the information generated from this research, we have worked with a team of UF scientists and the staff at Florida Foundation Seed Producers, Inc. to apply for patents (some pending) and release five turfgrass cultivars.
Hammock® Centipedegrass ‘BA-417′ (U.S. Patent PP20,812) – a centipedegrass variety with a finer texture, faster growth rate, and an expanded range of adaptation in comparison to other standard varieties. Hammock® ‘BA-417′ centipedegrass has been exclusively licensed to Environmental Turf, Inc., 4366 E. Kinsey Road, Avon Park, FL 33825. More Info.
Pristine™ Zoysiagrass ‘BA-305′ (U.S. Patent PP18,415) – a zoysiagrass variety which, when compared with standard varieties, has a darker green color, faster grow-in rates, lower terminal height, and fewer seedheads. Pristine™ ‘BA-305′ zoysiagrass has been exclusively licensed to Environmental Turf, Inc., 4366 E. Kinsey Road, Avon Park, FL 33825. More Info.
Ultimate™ Zoysiagrass ‘BA-189′ (U.S. Patent Pending) is a zoysiagrass variety which, when compared with standard varieties, has a darker canopy color, faster growth rate, a more refined leaf structure, and fewer and smaller seedheads. Ultimate™ ‘BA-189′ zoysiagrass has been exclusively licensed to Environmental Turf, Inc., 4366 E. Kinsey Road, Avon Park, FL 33825. More Info.
Captiva® St. Augustinegrass ‘NUF-76′ (U.S. Patent Pending) is a fine bladed, dark green St. Augustinegrass that is tolerant to infestation by the southern chinch bug and the plant hopper. Specifically characterized by slow leaf blade growth, which reduces the need for mowing, Captiva® requires roughly 50% less maintenance than other St. Augustinegrass varieties. Additionally, Captiva® greatly reduces the need for pesticides, making it perfectly suitable for home lawn applications. Captiva® St. Augustinegrass has been exclusively licensed the Florida Sod Growers Cooperative, Inc. for production of Captiva® St. Augustinegrass. The Florida Sod Growers Cooperative, Inc. has sub-licensed Sod Solutions, Inc. of Mt. Pleasant, SC to exclusively market this turfgrass cultivar in the USA. More Info.
Aloha™ Seashore Paspalum ‘H99-47′ (U.S. Patent Pending) is a paspalum variety which, when compared with standard varieties, has a faster growth rate, better insect resistance, a darker green canopy, and a lower terminal height. Aloha™ ‘H99-47′ paspalum has been exclusively licensed to Environmental Turf, Inc., 4366 E. Kinsey Road, Avon Park, FL 33825. More Info.